Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration published a "guidance document" in the federal register.  The purpose is to provide "guidance for industry control of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated or frozen ready-to-eat foods.

The "guidance document" is intented as non-binding and for the purpose of generating comments.

So far, we know the American Meat Institute likes what was published. Here’s what AMI had to say on the Cattle Network website:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a new draft compliance policy for control of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods that for the first time creates different policies for foods that support growth of the organism and foods that do not. AMI has long sought the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to adopt a similar science-based policy which reflects international standards adopted by Europe, Canada and other nations.

For foods that do not support growth of Lm, FDA will revise its tolerance level from zero to 100 colony forming units per gram of food (cfu/g). The “zero tolerance” standard for those RTE foods that support the growth of the pathogen will remain the same.

Three draft documents are published in today’s Federal Register, including a draft Compliance Policy Guide that provides guidance for FDA staff on the agency’s enforcement policy, draft Guidance for Industry on Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Refrigerated or Frozen Ready-to-Eat Foods, and a Notice of a Public Meeting on March 28, 2008 to receive public comments on the proposed changes to the agency’s policy for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods that are under the jurisdiction of FDA.

The rest of what AMI had to say can be found here.

Go here for the FDA’s publication in the Federal Register.  There is a 60 day comment period that is open now.